MOSCOW, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - About three weeks after arriving at the International Space Station, the Dragon spacecraft built by the Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) will return to Earth on Tuesday.
Dragon's return date, originally scheduled for March 25, was postponed due to bad weather near its targeted splashdown site in the Pacific Ocean.
A Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft blasted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on March 1. The docking with the space station was performed on March 3, one day later than scheduled due to a thruster failure.
The Dragon brought some 550 kilograms (1,212 pounds) of cargo to the ISS, and will take back to Earth over 1 metric ton of load.
It was the second of at least 12 flights to the ISS that US private company SpaceX carried out under its $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract.
Last year, the Dragon made a demonstration flight to the space station in May and carried out the first resupply mission in October, delivering more than 450 kg (1,000 pounds) of cargo to the ISS.
Dragon’s third mission to the space station is expected in the fall of 2013. The spacecraft will be launched on board a modernized version of the Falcon 9 rocket.
The Dragon is a reusable spacecraft developed by SpaceX to fly cargo to the ISS after NASA retired its space shuttle fleet last year. The spacecraft is capable of carrying more than 7,000 pounds (3,175 kg) of cargo split between pressurized and unpressurized sections, according to NASA.